Road to the Big Hole

Sula MT to Jackson MT- 57 milesBy Karl Murphy. 

We began the day with a minor clinic on leadership, leadership development and scouting...."it would help everyone if you showed up....on time...in uniform...with two properly inflated tires..." and other pearls of wisdom from Ed Billings and Karl Murphy....

The air was cleared...or more specifically...the boys got much more clear definition and some perspective about what "scout led" means and we dispelled some myths about "spirit of the bike trip"... And what are the good and bad lessons from that cliche....

Our message was that they could grow in many ways beyond thicker quads and fatter calves....but its up to them...the net result was that the collective took it under advisement...

 

 Chief Joseph Pass. Our first crossing of the continental divide. We will zig zag this line plenty in the coming weeks.  

Chief Joseph Pass. Our first crossing of the continental divide. We will zig zag this line plenty in the coming weeks.  

 

On to riding...we left Sula for a 12 mile climb from 4500' to 7300' up and through Chief Joseph pass which the scouts crushed like an easy pedal up MLK to Franklin street...

They are really in great shape.

At the top we took a break at the park rest area where we met Hans and Mareka from Holland...they engaged one of the boys in conversation"you on a team? where you from? ...etc...15 minutes later he made a donation to beloud and demanded a photo of all the boys...Mareka was a bit less motivated about the whole thing than Hans, which she made clear in Dutch.  Ed and I found the exchange much funnier than the boys having been on the receiving end of a "mareka" ourselves.  

 

 

 Big Hole National Battlefied. Site of one of Ed's stimulating historical lectures... 

Big Hole National Battlefied. Site of one of Ed's stimulating historical lectures... 

 

We enjoyed a fast downhill pedal to 

Big Hole national battlefield where we resupplied water, had a snack and 

Ed gave a stimulating presentation on Nez Pierce/US Cavalry relations in the 1860's... which was received with blank stares.

Side note: Ed apparently knows more about 19th century US frontier history than most...should you have a sleep problem...ask him about Chief Joseph, Lewis and Clark, Bureau of Indian Affairs...

 

We continued to pedal across the grassy planes of Western Montana to Wisdom, population 25.

Several miles outside Wisdom, past the grass airstrip, down the road from the acres of harvested hay, a few hundred feet past the dead gopher...we stopped to celebrate and record the crew's 1000 mile milestone.  

 

 The 1,000 mile mark. 2,900 more to go. Ignore the crossing of the yellow line, Dean.  

The 1,000 mile mark. 2,900 more to go. Ignore the crossing of the yellow line, Dean.  

 

Please ignore the fact the the boys were 8 abreast of a busy Central Montana Highway...we hired a few locals to stop traffic, road guard vests, flashers, i think ed even got the sheriff to run his lights...you can imagine the incredibly safe execution of this photo...safety and compliance officer Dean Broz approved.

 

We rolled into the metropolis of Jackson Montana, population 25 early in the afternoon.  

Jackson is SO small some woman clearly on her clueless "Eat, Pray, Love" adventure through Western Montana (she likes beards and Elk) came looking for a gallon of gas to get to Wisdom...because they have a gas station...she struck out.

She visited the FOUR buildings in town and no one had a spare gas tank...

The kind owner of the Jackson Hot Springs Lodge comped $600 in tenting and hot springs visits after hearing the boys story which made the ever frugal crew ecstatic...

Sidebar: Ed has gotten so good at this "these young fellas are riding all the way across country to raise money for cancer..." story...which is completely genuine and true....some of our road conversation has drifted to his skills as a minister...perhaps a career change is in his future?

 

 A one dog town. Murph enjoys dinner in Jackson.  

A one dog town. Murph enjoys dinner in Jackson.  

 

In all seriousness, there is lot of road chatter (the boys talk all ride...really up to about 22 mph or 3% grade) about raising their beloud fundraising goal...more on that from them.  I'm just here to make sure the trains run on time...